Fans are still reeling after hearing that Miranda Lambert, a well-known country music star, is quitting her music career after two decades in the industry. She announced her decision in March 2023, which was surprising because she released her last studio album almost exactly a year before. Therefore, nothing indicated that Miranda would stop doing what she (apparently) loved, including touring and performing at sold-out venues. Here’s why she decided to end her career, and what she plans to do instead.
She was extremely successful
Many entertainers, actors, musicians, and singers retire from their profession once the opportunities dry up, and new faces take over the industry or even the genre. Miranda’s case is different; she had moderate to outstanding success for 20 years and has won three Grammy Awards. Additionally, her most recent studio album received universal critical acclaim with a score of 83 out of 10 on Metacritic and a Country Music Association Award for Album of the Year nomination.
Moreover, she had five high-charting songs and 10 number-one singles in her career. Thus, her decision to leave Sony Music Nashville on 15 March 2023 didn’t make sense. However, Miranda’s priorities recently shifted behind the scenes, and she wanted more time for her family, personal brand, and entrepreneurship.
Miranda loved music from a young age
Miranda Leigh Lambert, born on 10 November 1983 in Longview, Texas, USA, and raised in the town of Lindal about 50 miles (80kms) away. Her father inspired her love for music when he played his guitar, and her music taste eventually ranged from mainstream to outlaw country from the 1970s and 1980s.
She decided to showcase her talent at 16, started writing music, playing guitar, and performing at talent shows and honky-tonk bars. Moreover, her music had a distinct theme. Her parents, Rick and Bev, who worked as private investigators, lost all their money in the oil crisis in the 1980s and 1990s. They became ministers for a Methodist church and brought endangered or abused women home for protection, and their stories around the kitchen table inspired Miranda’s lyrics. After she realized her potential and received support from the audience and people close to her, Miranda ensured that she would matriculate from high school early. That allowed her to release a self-titled and produced “Miranda Lambert” album in 2001.
A talent competition brought her fame
Her first album received little attention, hence Miranda decided to front a larger audience and talent scouts, by competing in the TV talent competition “Nashville Star” two years after her album’s release. She failed to secure the top prize, but an Epic Nashville executive and on-air judge, Tracy Gershon, noticed her, signed her to the label in 2004, and Miranda began recording her next album.
On 15 March 2005, she released her debut studio album, “Kerosine.” Four of its songs entered the top 40 of the Billboard Country Singles chart, and the title track reached 15th spot. It was a perfect mix of outlaw country with what critics described as ‘a love gone wrong theme,’ folk-pop influences of classic country, honky-tonk, and country rock. Her next album, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” released in 2007, was even snappier and louder, because she wrote nearly all 11 tracks, and what sparked interest was Miranda’s authenticity; journalists revealed that she wrote those songs, including her highest charting single, “Gunpowder & Lead,” while having a concealed carry permit, and taking her handgun wherever she went.
Blake Shelton skyrocketed her popularity
Miranda’s popularity increased considerably after she released her 2009 album, “Revolution,” which contained her first number-one single on the Billboard Country chart, entitled “The House That Built Me”, and received a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for that song in February 2011.
Despite her solo success, Miranda’s romantic life put her and her work in front of a massive audience – she began dating a country singer Blake Shelton in 2006, but most people only found that out when he co-wrote some songs on her 2009 album, or even later when they married in 2011. Additionally, Miranda and her girl music group, “The Pistol Annies,” were heard on Blake’s 2012 Christmas album, “Cheers, It’s Christmas,” and his well-known 2013 single, “Boys’ Round Here,” which eventually reached the top position on Billboard’s US Country Airplay chart. It was ultimately a five-times platinum-certified single in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
2017 was one of her best years
Miranda’s prominence grew despite her broken heart; she divorced Blake in July 2015, and within the year he moved on with his now wife, singer Gwen Stefani. Her two albums, “Platinum,” released in 2014, and “The Weight of These Wings” from 2016, were well received. Moreover, she broke some records by winning her eighth successive Academy of Country Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, and her seventh CMA (Country Music Association) award in the same category.
Something changed during the pandemic
After announcing her seventh studio album, “Wildcard,” and releasing it in November 2019, Miranda wanted to go on a 27-city tour across North America. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic hindered some planned performances, and the tour concluded in Canada in May 2020. A slight change was evident on the album; for instance, it was her first time working with another producer, and Jay Joyce helped make the album what it was. Also, it was her first country rock album in a while; the fifth studio album was marketed as a classic country, and the sixth was categorized as alternative country.
Additionally, Miranda would spend much more time at home. Her loyal fans know that Miranda bought a 400-acre farm near Primm Springs, Tennessee, an hour’s drive from Nashville, for $3,4 million in 2016. Moreover, she had a new man in her life; on 26 January 2019, she married Brendan McLoughlin, a New York Police Department officer. Many don’t know that Brendan had just had a son with his ex-girlfriend Kaihla Rettinger, when hey met Miranda in 2018. Therefore, Miranda, who said in 2015 that she wasn’t ready to raise kids, became a devoted stepmom to Landon from the get-go, and loved every moment. She even purchased a home in New York City to see him more often, since the newborn lived with Kaihla full-time.
Inspiration behind @idyllwind: Strength. Kindness. Sensitivity. Beauty. Fire. Power. Happiness.
— Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) February 27, 2019
She recently tweaked her music
Although “Wildcard” won the Grammy for Best Country Album in 2021, Miranda was already set on tweaking her sound. Her collaborative album that year, “The Marfa Tapes,” produced with Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, had a low fidelity, alternative music vibe. Moreover, she collaborated with Elle King, a country, blues and rock singer, on the “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” single, and released a song to support the LGBTQ community, entitled “Y’all Means All”, on 30 December 2021.
She also released a folk, world, country and Christmas holiday album, “Hell of a Holiday,” two months before, in October, with her girl group, “The Pistol Annies.”
With that in mind, her last studio album under Sony Music Group, “Palomino,” released on 29 April 2022, didn’t fit the pattern; it demonstrated her return to her roots, and had a typical outlaw/cowboy country sound. However, many people need to realize that Miranda wrote all the songs in 2020 while on her Tennessee ranch and only re-recorded some for the album. Thus, the project was likely halfway ready before she started getting cold feet about being signed to a mainstream record label.
She had vocal issues
Some fans rushed to a conclusion on 31 March 2023, when Miranda canceled her Las Vegas concert at the Bakkt Theater, only two weeks after she announced becoming a free agent as a recording artist. She stated that she’d been under doctor’s care the entire day before, but that her physician ordered two days of vocal rest. Thus, while most followers showed their support, some suspected that Miranda had undisclosed vocal issues that forced her to part ways with Sony Music Group. Luckily, Miranda proved that it was a temporary setback, and performed without a hitch a few days later.
Miranda may expand her family
Miranda and her husband Brendan, have been open about their love for each other and their animals over the years. Additionally, after she gushed about her love for Brendan’s son, an insider revealed to Us Weekly in February 2022 that the couple started trying to conceive after their third wedding anniversary the month before. According to the source, Miranda felt emotionally ready, had enough practice with Landon, and Brendan always wanted to have biological children with her.
Additionally, the journalist revealed that she was building a house to accommodate their family in or around Nashville, which may or may not be on her 400-acre property. Therefore, Miranda likely wanted to pause her relentless pursuit of being a country music star, spend time with her husband, and work on growing their family.
Rocking it in green is Miranda Lambert, and beside her is husband Brendan Mcloughlin.
Posted by CBS on Sunday, April 7, 2019
Miranda wants to help animals
Judging by the interviews after March 2023, Miranda is stepping away from releasing albums to make time for her other passions. She has the charity MuttNation Foundation, which she started with her mother in 2009, with its goal to raise money for rescuing animals, animal shelters, and the high costs of veterinarian bills. She has an animal shelter on a ranch in Blake Shelton’s hometown, Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and has been vocal about the cause. Miranda also partnered with Tractor Supply Company and Greater Good Charities to sell pet products or provide pet meals for free. Most recently, on 20 April 2023, MuttNation and Tractor Supply Company announced that they had gathered almost $300,000 in donations from portions of pet product purchases.
She is working on her brand
Miranda has been the face of many products, including Cotton Inc.’s clothes, DSW’s line of shoes and boots, and Ram trucks manufactured by Chrysler, one of which, a 1500 Laramie Longhorn, she sold at an auction and donated the proceeds to MuttNation Foundation. Plus, she owns The Pink Pistol boutique in Lindale, has created a wine brand with Red 55 Winery, launched the clothing line Idyllwind, and has a line of home necessities and decorations, Wanda June Home, exclusively sold at Walmart.
Also, Miranda has always been a food lover, but her career kept her from seeking noteworthy success in the industry. That changed on 25 May 2021, when she opened a four-story, 17,400 sqft or 1,615m2 bar, entitled Casa Rosa or “pink house” in Spanish. Then, two years later, she published a cookbook entitled “Y’all Eat Yet?: Welcome to the Pretty B*tchin’ Kitchen” on 25 April 2023 with her co-author, Holly Gleason. It features her favorite recipes local to Texas and her mother and grandmother, who taught her to cook. She promptly embarked on a press tour to promote its release, and her break from music allowed her to do so.
Miranda didn’t quit music
Miranda has been at the top of her game since she signed a recording deal with Sony at age 19. After 20 years of consistent effort at concerts and during long days on tour and in the studio, which resulted in nine universally praised studio albums, she decided to take some pressure off. She’s now dedicated to her family, primarily her parents, husband Brendan, and stepson Landon, who turned 4 in 2023. Moreover, she’s following her passions in the food industry, and developing a personal brand by launching and advertising products from established brands.
However, her fans can be sure that Miranda will not quit music. She said in April 2023, ‘I am, for the first time in 20 years, a free agent. I don’t have a label and feel great about it.’ She added that she ‘feels inspired to be able to see the options out there because it’s a different landscape compared to signing her first record deal.’ She wants to be a part of a new wave of whatever is going on in her genre. Fans must remember that she launched a record label, Vanner Records, in 2016.
Moreover, Miranda announced a new song with Dierks Bentley on 5 May 2023, available on the soundtrack for the CBS TV show “Fire Country.” Most recently, she co-wrote some of 13 tracks on Jelly Rolls’ “Whitsitt Chapel” country album, scheduled for release on 2 June 2023.